Patricia Jane Horrigan, teacher for 23 years in the Trumbull Pubic Schools teaching third grade at Center School and Daniels Farms and sixth grade at Hillcrest Middle, died Oct. 18 at Bridges Cornell Heights in Ithaca N.Y. where she had resided for the past two years. She was 84.
Throughout her childhood, she lived with her family in the Midwest, settling in 1940 in Greensburg, Pa. and attending Seton Hill Academy. She went on to graduate in 1950 from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University with a BA degree in journalism and psychology.Born in Milwaukee on April 12, 1928, she was the daughter of James and Frances (aka ‘Mac’) Hurley.
In August of that year, she married her Duquesne sweetheart Jack Horrigan and moved to New York City. There she worked for three years as a social worker with foster care children and families through New York Foundling while Jack attended grad school at Fordham University.
Her job took her to the streets of New York where she would forever feel at home. New York’s social and cultural vitality made its mark on Pat who spent the next half century of life immersed in music, art, poetry, literature, Great Books, theatre, travel, and learning at every turn.
Pat and Jack moved to Westport in 1961 where they resided for the next 41 years and raised their three children.
In Westport, she immediately became active in the League of Women Voters and developed lifelong friendships with other women like herself committed to fostering informed and active participation in their communities and democratic life.
She celebrated when her LWV peer Jackie Heneage was elected as Westport’s first female First Selectman in 1973 and went on to campaign enthusiastically for Diane Farrell’s election to the same position in 1997.
Into the 1990’s, following her retirement, she was still busy working with the League as part of its Observer Corps.
She returned to graduate school in the late 1960s and completed her Master of Education degree at Bridgeport University. Then, in 1968, at the age of 40, she began a 23-year teaching career in the Trumbull Pubic Schools teaching third grade at Center School and sixth grade Social Studies at Daniels Farms.
Throughout her life, she remained eager to learn and expand herself and took courses, traveled extensively and remained constantly engaged in the unfolding developments, careers and lives of her three children.
New York City remained her cultural mecca and the place to which she constantly returned for intellectual and cultural nourishment. Burying Hill, Compo and Old Mill beaches, Westport Library, Rippie’s Farm, Remarkable Bookstore, Main Street, Oscar’s, Gold’s, Klein’s, Unitarian Church, Devils Den, Aspetuck Land Trust, Yale Rep, Bridgeport Symphony, Friends of Music, Levitt Pavilion– and saving Nyala Farms, Cockenoe Island and the Baron’s Property–all these were part of Pat’s 41 memorable years in Westport.
In 2002, Pat and Jack moved to Ithaca to be closer to their daughters and spent several happy years living in Cayuga Heights and enjoying all the Finger Lakes had to offer.
Pat’s outgoing and sociable way coupled with her energy and enthusiasm for new ideas, experiences and interactions made her someone to whom others were drawn. Even in her final years, after chronic pain and dementia took hold, those who met her marveled at her outgoing way, her smile and her eagerness to listen, engage and connect to others.
Predeceased by her father (1959), mother (1981), husband Jack of 58 years (2008), beloved sister Maureen Melino (2011), sister-in-law Lorraine Bielski (2004) and brother-in-law Bob Horrigan (2012), Pat leaves her son Jack Horrigan (Raspati) of Westport, and daughters Paula Horrigan (Scott Sears) of Trumansburg, N.Y. and Alice Horrigan of Fairfield; grandchildren, Savitri and Krishna Horrigan (Jack and Raspati), Madeline Horrigan (Alice), Mariah Fogarty-Sears (Scott and Paula) and one great grandchild, Kiri Briana (Mariah).
She leaves behind her brother-in-law Ronald Melino of Westport, and several nieces and nephews and their families including Steven Melino of San Francisco, Jim Melino of Walnut Creek, Calif., Frances Zahler of Reno, Nev., and Barbara Deecken of Westport.
The family extends much love and thanks to the staff and caregivers at Bridges who believed and performed the ‘miracle’ that made Pat’s final days ones of comfort, care, kindness, friendship, dignity and humanity.
Pat will be remembered at a gathering to be held at Westport’s Unitarian Church on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 3-5 pm.
Donations may be made in Pat’s name to an educational, environmental, arts or cultural institution of your choosing.
For additional information, contact Ness-Sibley Funeral Home at 1-888-534-5446. To send an online condolence to the family, visit http://www.ness-sibley.com.